Watson Institute at Brown University
Stone Inequality Initiative

What is the purpose of the Stone Initiative?

The Stone Inequality Initiative studies the negative impacts of concentrated wealth in the United States. Concentrated wealth and the infrastructures that maintain it diminish the power of democratic institutions and limit the influence of the broader public on collective action from housing to healthcare. While there is robust scholarship investigating the impacts and dynamics of poverty, there are significant blindspots in our understanding of great wealth that must be addressed to respond effectively to increasing inequality. It is the mission of the Stone Inequality Initiative to deepen our understanding of the influence and resilience of wealth in pursuit of a more equitable republic.

What kind of projects is the Stone Initiative looking for?

The Stone Inequality Initiative supports a variety of independently designed student projects driven by an interest in the state of economic inequality in the United States. Projects that focus on the influence of great wealth will be prioritized but all projects centered on the theme of inequality will be considered. 

How specific should my proposal be?

Students can submit fully designed research proposals or projects in the early stages of planning. Applicants should be able to explain why a reader would be interested in his, her or their topic. Applicants should give a general overview of the methods they intend to employ in their work.

What kind of support for my project will the Stone Initiative give?

Students will meet monthly with their peers to discuss progress on research and get feedback on their project design and presentation. Fellows will also be required to attend a monthly half hour one on one meeting with the Initiative postdoctoral fellow to discuss progress, give feedback on group meetings and share challenges that arise as their project develops. 

What will happen at the monthly Stone Fellow meetings?

Stone Inequality Initiative monthly meetings will provide fellows an opportunity to give and receive feedback on projects. Meetings will include guest speakers—scholars investigating inequality in the US and former fellows. Meetings will last one hour and lunch will be provided.

What kind of projects have students produced in the past?

Stone fellows have produced traditional forms of scholarship, such as research papers, have supported faculty research and have conducted interviews with experts, published in student newspapers. 

What kind of methods do Stone fellows use?

Stone Fellows have used a broad range of methods from archival research to interviews to data collection. The Initiative emphasizes interdisciplinary research methods and looks to support innovative approaches to the study of inequality.

What will my faculty advisor do?

Faculty advisors are expected to be available for questions throughout the year, over email, in person or both. This support will be augmented by Stone faculty and staff who will be available to give immediate support to fellows.

What kind of presentation should I have for the capstone event?

Presentations will be self-designed and fellows will workshop their presentations in group meetings. Presentations should reflect the insights of fellowship work in progress.

Which concentrations are eligible?

Students from all concentrations are eligible, including independently designed concentrations.

Which year do I have to be to apply?

Students of any year may apply. Applications will be assessed based on the quality of the self-designed project. 

Is this fellowship available to international students?

Yes! While student projects should focus on the impacts of wealth in the United States international students are eligible.

Can I apply for additional funding?

Students who require financial support in addition to the standard stipend will be required to provide an itemized list of expenses and students must demonstrate that the additional funding is necessary to complete their project.